Bristol City Council

Client: Bristol City Council

Designer: MetaDesign, PSD Associates

Sign manufacturer: yet to be appointed

MetaDesign is creating a new signage system for Bristol as part of the Bristol Legible City project, which aims to provide a simple and distinctive voice for Bristol through a visual language of easily understood symbols and legible text.

From next year, the system will be implemented throughout the city in directional signs, visitor welcome panels, city and area maps, interpretation points, information booths and markers at transport interchanges and neighbourhood gateways to ease navigation, highlight places of interest and provide a cohesive city identity.

MetaDesign specified the Bristol Transit typeface – designed to look modern and confident – in upper and lower case for maximum legibility on a blue background. A colour rather than a logo was chosen as a distinctive symbol for the city because of its clarity and resonance with Bristol’s waterfront, maritime history, fountains, and the city’s famous blue glass. Icons used are only those that are widely recognisable.

The physical components are designed by PSD Associates to be robust – stainless steel, powder-coated mild steel, vitreous enamel panels – in a reference to Bristol’s architectural and industrial heritage. They are conceived as a visible expression of the city’s character: strong, creative, contemporary, but never faddish. Individual signs are easy to replace when information needs to be updated. The signs will be mounted as directional posts or information panels, the latter with blue illumination for night-time navigation. The first of these will appear on key pedestrian routes throughout the city.

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